With so many school districts going online during COVID-19, teachers are searching for assessment solutions for their students. So, what should you be thinking about as you move into this online world?
First, remember the key questions made popular by the late Rick Defour (and adapted by me):
- What do we want students to learn?
- How do we know if students are learning what we wanted them to learn?
- How will we help students learn best the first time around?
- What interventions will we provide to students who are not yet learning?
When giving students an assessment, it’s so important to remember that the assessment should align with what students are supposed to learn. If you are like fellow colleagues, there is usually too much curriculum for a school year.
As you begin to assess online, it’s okay to start simple, perhaps with one open-ended question that requires students to write. Authors David Conley (College Knowledge) and Mike Schmoker (Focus) speak to the importance of writing every day in school. You won’t go wrong with having students answer an open-ended question that provides an opportunity for students to show what they know. ReadWorks has Article of the Day and even includes paired texts. Also, Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Day is a good example of committing time to having students write. Kelly assigns an article for students to read and then has students respond by answering a prompt. The prompt is the same for every article. It’s all about writing and thinking. Feedback to students about their answers is useful in the learning process and you don’t need to assign grades to these assessments, although you can. Techniques such as Article of the Day and Article of the Week are easy to use, especially if you want something that extends the assessments that come with your curriculum program.